• Katherine Pan

Review of EG1311: Design and Make

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

Year took: AY19/20 Semester 1

EG1311 is a common engineering module for all incoming engineering freshmen. The focus of EG1311 is on basic engineering design and prototyping. The module focuses on understanding the Arduino Uno hardware and design modeling using the Fusion 360 program. EG1311 also has a project component. We will create a working prototype using Arduino Uno to clear a predesigned obstacle. NUS will reimburse groups $50 for buying prototype components. I took this module pre-COVID, thus some aspects of this review may be different. The assessment criteria are as follows:

1) Obstacle course – 20%

2) Team report – 10%

3) Video presentation – 30%

4) Peer voting based on the video – 10%

5) Peer review from group mates – 10%


Every week, there is a 2 hours lecture slot. Lectures are split into three components. The first part analyses what is design thinking. The second section teaches the basics of design modeling using Fusion 360. The third segment focuses on understanding the Arduino Uno hardware. After attending most lectures, I felt that the content was poorly taught. The lecture on design thinking did not equip me with the knowledge of prototype design. Meanwhile, I could not keep up with the lecture on Fusion 360 as the lecturer rushed to show the program's functions. The Arduino Uno lectures were incomprehensible, and I left the hall even more confused.


Fortunately, I was learning how to use Solidworks for BN1111, hence I had a rough idea of how to use Fusion 360. There were also many guides and videos online that explain how to use Fusion 360 and Arduino Uno.

I think the same goes for almost every student taking EG1311. (Source)

Lab Sessions:

Lab sessions for EG1311 occur biweekly and the obstacle test is on either week 10 or 11. In the lab, we will brainstorm for ideas and assemble our working prototype. The focus of the prototype is to support disaster relief and show its feasibility. Hence, the prototype must clear a predefined obstacle course as shown before.

Predefined obstacle course. (Source: EG1311 Final Project)

Arduino Uno is a microcontroller board that controls the prototype’s movement and behavior. It is an electric component and it controls the prototype from the code upload onto it. Arduino Uno uses coding language C/C++ and is powered by our laptops using a USB cable or alkaline batteries.

We are free to form our project teams and I formed a group with the people at the table I was sitting with. As we had come from Junior College, we had no experience nor ideas on where to begin. To kick things off, we discussed different prototype designs followed by their feasibility. Ultimately, my group decided on a tank prototype and we began to assemble it on the second lab session. Things started to go downhill from here as our lack of experience became apparent. We had to figure out how to code Arduino Uno from sourcing online and assemble the mess of electronic parts.

My team’s final product.

Ultimately, my team created the prototype as seen above! We DIYed the tank threads using sewing thread to save cost and we managed to keep the overall costs below $50. I saw many teams buy a complete assembly and they spent $80 - $120 as they bought several of it when one could not work. Although our prototype could clear all obstacles, it was unable to stop 50mm away from the wall as we could not figure out the code.

Team Report:

The submission of the team report is due on either week 12/13. There was no format given for the team report, thus we improvised. My team’s report included ideation, prototyping, prototype testing, evaluation, and conclusion. Writing of the report was a lot easier compared to assembling and figuring out how Arduino works. Remember to take pictures throughout your EG1311 journey! The photos will come in handy as they can be inserted into the report for clarification.

Video Presentation:

The video is due in the same week as the team report. The presentation video will document the final prototype and the various solutions proposed. It was left to our creativity how we planned to create the video. My team’s video idea was simple. My teammates acted as disaster victims trapped under debris while the prototype scouts for survivors. To showcase the various solutions, my teammate used Fusion 360 to model the possible prototypes.


All in all, EG1311 was an eye-opener. Creating a prototype was foreign and difficult due to a lack of background knowledge and experience. It helps tremendously if you have experience with electronics and coding because the lectures were awful. I am relieved that this module is over and my team managed to get a decent grade despite our inexperience.

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